A bill to create a registry of public buildings which contain asbestos has moved forward with unanimous support in the Legislature – a rare victory for a private member’s bill.
The Asbestos Right-to-Know Act, also dubbed Howard’s Law, is a private member’s bill that was introduced by NDP Leader Cam Broten in November. In a first-week victory for the new NDP leader, Broten’s bill passed second reading and will now move into the committee phase.
“Before he died, Howard Willems asked us to keep his work moving forward,” said Broten. “For a family choosing a personal care home or a tradesperson heading to a jobsite, Howard’s Law will give peace of mind, and may save lives.”
The Sask. Party initially opposed the Asbestos Right-to-Know Act, but has since allowed voluntary disclosure online of some government buildings that contain asbestos. The Government of Saskatchewan already maintains lists of public buildings which contain asbestos – the act would require that list to be available online with detail about the asbestos containment in each building.
Government-owned buildings, health care facilities and schools would be covered under the new law.
“A good idea is a good idea, no matter who or where it comes from. I’m glad the Sask. Party finally recognized that in this case,” said Broten. “It was the dedication of Howard’s family and friends that got us this far and the NDP and I are ready to take this bill all the way to a final vote.”
Broten said the next hurdle is ensuring that Sask. Party amendments in the committee stage don’t weaken the proposed law.
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus office